Written by Michelle Kretzer
Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world's largest pig supplier, announced yesterday that
it will phase out
gestation crates for pregnant sows by
2017. Let's hope it keeps its word this time. Smithfield has promised this
Female pigs at Smithfield are forced
into continuous cycles of pregnancy and birth, only to have their piglets
ripped away from them within weeks. The pregnant pigs are confined to metal-barred gestation crates so small that they are
2007, Smithfield agreed to
phase out the crates in 10 years. The decision
followed pressure from animal advocates, including PETA's public protests,
meetings with Smithfield executives, and a shareholder resolution to ban the
crates. But after two years, the company dropped the plan, citing economic woes.
month, PETA launched a "hashtag hijack," flooding a Smithfield
Twitter event with tweets from supporters demanding the end of gestation
crates. Smithfield has now agreed but has given itself another five years to
comply and said the ban would apply only to farms owned by the company, not its
many contract farms.
company that earned record profits last year off the misery of pigs could start today to
end one of its worst abuses. And it should require its contract farmers to do
the same. Hopefully, Smithfield won't renege again and will listen to our calls
to ban all gestation crates. Animal
advocates can continue to cut into the company's profit margins by refusing to eat Smithfield
products—or any pigs.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.